No matter how long your walk, you need to make sure you are as comfortable as you can be along the route. But, for long distance walks, you need to prepare well to make sure you complete the route and enjoy the walk.
You have a lot to think about before heading off on a long distance walk. Don't find yourself a few miles into the walk, when it's too late to turn back, and realise you've left something behind, or chosen a bad piece of walking kit.
Preparation is important. If you don't prepare well for a long distance walk, you will regret it. Just imagine how disappointed you'd be if you could not complete your long distance walk because you'd not prepared one small detail. All the time and money wasted.
To help you prepare, here are my long distance walking tips:
Of all the long distance walking tips, first of all you need comfortable feet. And, having comfortable feet starts with having the right socks. The debate about how many pairs of socks you should wear is never-ending. Some walkers say you should wear two pairs of socks. Others say you should only wear one pair of socks.
The reality is that how many pairs of socks you wear for a long distance walk depends on you, your feet and your boots. I'll get onto walking boots later. I always wear two pairs of socks. My wife wears two pairs of socks for walking. I can't remember the last time I got a blister. My wife gets them on every other long walk we do.
The thick socks wick sweat away too. And, they give my feet a cushion against the insides of my boots. The combination works for me. But, it might work not for you. Test what works for you before you go. You'll regret it if you find out your socks give you blisters when you are a few miles in.
Preventing and curing blisters
Something I learnt in the British Army was about foot care. That's one of the best lessons I picked up which is still on long distance walking tips list. If you don't look after your feet, you are no good to the Army. You can't march and fight.
For boots, my main long distance walking tips are:
Food & water
Make sure you eat and drink enough on a long distance walk. You will be surprised at how many calories you burn on a long distance walk. And, with all that work walking up and down hills or mountains, you're going to need to drink a lot of water (or tea!) to keep your energy levels up.
And, it's not all about energy bars or drinks.
You need food which releases energy slowly, which is not too bulky or heavy and which you enjoy eating. I carry food Nak'd bars, Tracker bars, sandwiches, a flask of tea, fruit, dried fruit, and nuts.
Water is heavy but you can't do without it. I carry it either in a 1 litre bottle, or a 2-litre bladder which sits inside my rucksack. The former is good for shorter walks. The latter is good for longer, harder walks, but the bladder still taints the water with a plastic taste!
I hope these long distance walking tips give you some ideas on how to prepare for your adventure. My next article is tips for when you set off on your walk.
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